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Higher Ed in the News

Explaining U.S. research slide

August 20, 2009

Slower growth in tuition and state appropriations in public universities compared to revenue growth, including from endowment, in private universities, has caused a deceleration in the growth of research output in public universities, according to a recent analysis for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

paper published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research identifies a slowdown in research output in the United States beginning in the 1990s that is largely attributable, according to the author James D. Adams, to public universities and their lower rate of increase in resources.

Compensation for researchers, for example, rose 1 percent faster a year at private universities than public ones throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the study finds, suggesting "reasons for top scientists to migrate from public to private universities."

And while the rapid expansion of federal research funding benefited public institutions even more than private universities during this time, Adams finds, state obligations to cover Medicaid costs and equalize public school spending, among other demands, meant that "growth of mostly federal research dollars is canceled out by the slower growth of state dollars in public universities."


Read the full story from Inside Higher Ed.